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Fantasy Writers

Concerning Beta Readers and Editing (aka, I have QUESTIONS!)

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  • #153234
    Brooke
    @wingiby-iggiby

    Hi y’all! It’s been literally ages since I’ve frequented this wonderful writer’s hub, but I have questions that must needs answering and old friends to greet!

    Hello once more! I trust your writing endeavors have been going half as well as you planned?

    Yes?

    Your characters are not talking back, are they?

    But of course they are!

    I have missed you all dearly, and it is so great to be back again 🙂

    But on with the questions! As the title suggests, they relate to beta readers and the captivating process of editing.

    Let’s start with that wonderful editing process.

    I have no idea where to begin.

    Except by reading SE’s articles, and posting this post for answers. Any tips and tricks are sincerely welcome – but I do have one big question: when should I start editing? My WIP is going to be at least two books long; should I edit the first book after I have completed the first draft so that I have a completed story to base my second book on, or should I write both books and then edit them together so that I do not edit the first just to write the second and realize I have major revisions that must take place?

    I apologize for that mouthful.

    I wonder if it needs editing?

    But on to the second question/questions!

    How on earth do beta readers work? I know they read your book and give you feedback, but when do you let them read the book? The first messy draft? The second revision? While you’re physically writing it?

    And what feedback from them are you looking for?

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! I’m open to literally any strategies or plans.

    And, also, if any of y’all are interested in beta reading my fantasy novel, let me know! However, do not, under any circumstances, feel pressured to do so. Life is crazy, and I do not know if even I have the time to efficiently beta read (finding time to write is already an interesting adventure!)

    God bless!

    I light the arrow, pull the bow,
    Shoot that fire right through my soul.

    #153235
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Hey! Welcome back!

    when should I start editing? My WIP is going to be at least two books long; should I edit the first book after I have completed the first draft so that I have a completed story to base my second book on, or should I write both books and then edit them together so that I do not edit the first just to write the second and realize I have major revisions that must take place?

    You might not like this answer, but I’d say it’s whatever works best for your story. With some series, it’s definitely better to edit the first book first. I have a duology I’ll almost certainly refine book 1 in before I write book 2, or at least before I expect book 2 to offer a solid foundation to work from. Meanwhile, my plan for the duology I’m working on right now is to write both books and then edit them as a whole

    For me, the difference shows up in how the stories fit together; is the series one pretty continuous story, or are there clear breaks in the arcs? (Obviously there’s likely to be some of both, but I find that some series are almost more like connected standalones than a single story in parts, if that makes sense.) For the duology that’s more two separate stories, I’ll write and edit them separately; for the duology that’s more like one story in two parts, I intend to approach it as one piece.

    Hopefully that made sense. If not, I can expand or reword as needed.

    How on earth do beta readers work? I know they read your book and give you feedback, but when do you let them read the book? The first messy draft? The second revision? While you’re physically writing it? And what feedback from them are you looking for?

    M’kay, so there are beta-readers and there are alpha-readers. Alpha-readers read your book as you’re writing it and provide some general feedback as well as a lot of encouragement and general reader reactions; for me, they’re primarily a source of accountability with the secondary task of letting me know what I might want to edit first when the time comes.

    Beta-readers read a (generally much) later draft. They’re there to give you feedback on things you might have missed in your self-edits and let you know what the general reader response is to this close-to-final version. They’ll let you know whether or not your story beats, characters, world, etc. are all giving the intended impression and conveying the story you’re trying to tell.

    You can employ beta-readers just once or you can have multiple rounds of beta-readers for different points of the process. I generally get beta-readers between my personal edits and professional edits, but you could have a round after professional developmental and/or line edits, you could have a round after just a couple drafts if you want to double-check that your self-edits are taking you in the right direction, whatever. Obviously there will be at least one round of self-edits between beta-readers and whatever comes after that stage, since you’ll need to apply the feedback that furthers your story and you might also want to go over a draft after you’ve implemented all of that to see where your story is at afterward.

    I actually have a full blog post going into beta-readers, alpha-readers, sensitivity readers, and what is the role of each, if you want to take a look at that.

    Again, let me know if any of that was unclear or if there’s anything you’d like me to expand on! 🙂

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #153236
    E. N. Leonard
    @e-n-leonard

    Hello @wingiby-iggiby

    R. M. Archer put some really good advice in here, so I’ll just tack on this tidbit:

    If you know that your first book needs major edits, definitely tackle that before you move on to the second. It’ll set the second book up with a better foundation in such a situation.

    And I’d be happy to beta read your novel 🙂 I love beta reading!

    We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
    May your inkwells never run dry!

    #153237
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @wingiby-iggiby

    *Hurtles into the room surrounded by a cloud of pink glitter*

    BROOOKEE!!!! WINGIBY!!!! I MISSED YOU!!! *Gives you a huge hug*

    I missed you so much, it’s so amazing to hear from you again! You have to tell me all about how your project is going!!

    Your characters are not talking back, are they?

    … It’s Liorah, what were you expecting? XD

    Any tips and tricks are sincerely welcome – but I do have one big question: when should I start editing? My WIP is going to be at least two books long; should I edit the first book after I have completed the first draft so that I have a completed story to base my second book on, or should I write both books and then edit them together so that I do not edit the first just to write the second and realize I have major revisions that must take place?

    Okay here we go! Blessing upon blessings this is something I can help with!

    So, as always the answer is ‘it depends’ but I can clarify that a bit XD

    As you know, I’m writing a trilogy. (Actually I’m currently revising it, so that works out nicely!)

    I suggest having at least some draft of both books before finishing it, but not working on both at the same time. If you have to draft both consecutively, and then edit both consecutively, that can be a bit overwhelming!

    So, I suggest having one, (probably the first book) a stage further than the other. So, you might draft book one, do a first editing pass on it, then draft book 2, and then go back and forth between them!

    In my experience, you’ll discover some pretty major things during the first revision, and they might completely change your perspective on book 2. On the other hand, you’ll discover things about book 1 in book 2, so going back and forth has always worked really nicely for me! Plus it has the added bonus that you can let one book simmer in the back of your mind while you work on the other!

    I hope that made sense XD

    If you’re interested, I can tell you more about my revision process, if that would help you find a place to start!

    How on earth do beta readers work? I know they read your book and give you feedback, but when do you let them read the book? The first messy draft? The second revision? While you’re physically writing it?

    Again, the only correct answer is ‘it depends’ XD

    So, I think this depends on how practiced you are at finding flaws at your writing. Sometimes you’ll finish drafting with a mental list of ‘Here are the things I should fix’ and sometimes you finish with the thought ‘I have no idea if that was a masterpiece or a flaming hot mess’.

    In the first case, I suggest doing at least one pass to fix the flaws you can already see! In the latter, it’s perfectly okay to get readers for the first messy draft.

    I think whenever you come to the point of ‘I don’t know what to do next and nobody can answer because they haven’t read it’, that’s when beta readers are life savers!

    Giving the draft to people as you’re writing it feels a bit scarier, but it can help a LOT in specific cases! Especially when finishing a whole draft feels so overwhelming you can’t do it, it can help!

    So, short answer, as soon as you can’t think of what to do next! Also, you don’t have to let everyone read it at once! As Archer said, you can divide it into rounds, which is what I did!

    And what feedback from them are you looking for?

    Okay, this depends per draft! But for developmental edits, I’ve found it very useful to have a list of questions to ask them! (I’m happy to share it if you need an idea of it!) Besides that, the most useful way I’ve found that works for me and doesn’t use too much of my readers’ time is to ask them to write a few thoughts at the end of each chapter, even if it’s just something like ‘It’s fine, I liked it’. In the best case, you’ll get a ‘This chapter made me feel X, I liked Y, you could fix Z’

    Again, this kind of depends on the reader, some of them like to leave a lot of comments, some of them keep it very brief. Both are useful, and you’ll figure out which works best for you and you can fine-tune from there!

    And, also, if any of y’all are interested in beta reading my fantasy novel, let me know!

    UMMM YES!!!! Sign me up!! I’ll make time to read it, I love beta reading and your story is so interesting!!

    Also I’d really love if we could keep in touch, I really missed seeing you around! I can give you my writer email, if you’re comfortable with that! Or any other social media you prefer 😀

    I also started a writing newsletter a while ago! Here’s the link if you’re curious!

    https://swordandscrawls.ck.page

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #153240
    Arindown (Gracie)
    @arindown

    @wingiby-iggiby

    Looks like everyone had awesome answers, so I’m just popping in to recommend Abbie Emmons on YouTube for any writing/editing tips. She’s super helpful and straightforward and most (I’ll say most because she does use movie examples from films I would not watch XD) of her stuff is clean.

    "If I'm gonna break, I'll break like the dawn." -Nightbirde

    #153243
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    If you know that your first book needs major edits, definitely tackle that before you move on to the second. It’ll set the second book up with a better foundation in such a situation.

    Agreed.

    So, I think this depends on how practiced you are at finding flaws at your writing. Sometimes you’ll finish drafting with a mental list of ‘Here are the things I should fix’ and sometimes you finish with the thought ‘I have no idea if that was a masterpiece or a flaming hot mess’. In the first case, I suggest doing at least one pass to fix the flaws you can already see! In the latter, it’s perfectly okay to get readers for the first messy draft.

    As an additional note here, it’s a good idea to set aside the book for a while if you’re in the latter camp when you finish. Some time and space will give you a clearer perspective on it once you read it over again after a few weeks or even months. Readers can also help, but it’s generally a good idea–especially if you haven’t done much editing before/gotten much feedback before–to work from your own expectations first before sorting through outside feedback. Know what your aim is with the story so that you can filter feedback through that and make sure you’re applying the feedback that will strengthen your story. (Of course, it’s a balancing act to know what would make the story stronger even though it’s uncomfortable and what rubs you the wrong way because it’s wrong for the story… which brings us back to it being a good idea to postpone that stage until you’re confident in what you want to do with the story and you’ve had some practice making adjustments.)

    But for developmental edits, I’ve found it very useful to have a list of questions to ask them! (I’m happy to share it if you need an idea of it!) Besides that, the most useful way I’ve found that works for me and doesn’t use too much of my readers’ time is to ask them to write a few thoughts at the end of each chapter, even if it’s just something like ‘It’s fine, I liked it’. In the best case, you’ll get a ‘This chapter made me feel X, I liked Y, you could fix Z’ Again, this kind of depends on the reader, some of them like to leave a lot of comments, some of them keep it very brief. Both are useful, and you’ll figure out which works best for you and you can fine-tune from there!

    Agreed on all points!

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #153245
    Brooke
    @wingiby-iggiby

    @r-m-archer

    You might not like this answer, but I’d say it’s whatever works best for your story. With some series, it’s definitely better to edit the first book first. I have a duology I’ll almost certainly refine book 1 in before I write book 2, or at least before I expect book 2 to offer a solid foundation to work from. Meanwhile, my plan for the duology I’m working on right now is to write both books and then edit them as a whole

    For me, the difference shows up in how the stories fit together; is the series one pretty continuous story, or are there clear breaks in the arcs? (Obviously there’s likely to be some of both, but I find that some series are almost more like connected standalones than a single story in parts, if that makes sense.) For the duology that’s more two separate stories, I’ll write and edit them separately; for the duology that’s more like one story in two parts, I intend to approach it as one piece.

    Hopefully that made sense. If not, I can expand or reword as needed.

    Oh! That makes sense, thank you! My books are just one long story, so I’ll probably do something along the lines of your plan!

    M’kay, so there are beta-readers and there are alpha-readers. Alpha-readers read your book as you’re writing it and provide some general feedback as well as a lot of encouragement and general reader reactions; for me, they’re primarily a source of accountability with the secondary task of letting me know what I might want to edit first when the time comes.

    I totally forgot about alpha readers XD I will probably incorporate some as I write my second book! That feedback would be encouraging

    Beta-readers read a (generally much) later draft. They’re there to give you feedback on things you might have missed in your self-edits and let you know what the general reader response is to this close-to-final version. They’ll let you know whether or not your story beats, characters, world, etc. are all giving the intended impression and conveying the story you’re trying to tell.

    You can employ beta-readers just once or you can have multiple rounds of beta-readers for different points of the process. I generally get beta-readers between my personal edits and professional edits, but you could have a round after professional developmental and/or line edits, you could have a round after just a couple drafts if you want to double-check that your self-edits are taking you in the right direction, whatever. Obviously there will be at least one round of self-edits between beta-readers and whatever comes after that stage, since you’ll need to apply the feedback that furthers your story and you might also want to go over a draft after you’ve implemented all of that to see where your story is at afterward.

    This helps with my understanding a lot! I greatly appreciate it 😀 I have a much better idea of when to implement beta readers now.

    I actually have a full blog post going into beta-readers, alpha-readers, sensitivity readers, and what is the role of each, if you want to take a look at that.

    I am most definitely checking that out!!

    As an additional note here, it’s a good idea to set aside the book for a while if you’re in the latter camp when you finish. Some time and space will give you a clearer perspective on it once you read it over again after a few weeks or even months. Readers can also help, but it’s generally a good idea–especially if you haven’t done much editing before/gotten much feedback before–to work from your own expectations first before sorting through outside feedback. Know what your aim is with the story so that you can filter feedback through that and make sure you’re applying the feedback that will strengthen your story. (Of course, it’s a balancing act to know what would make the story stronger even though it’s uncomfortable and what rubs you the wrong way because it’s wrong for the story… which brings us back to it being a good idea to postpone that stage until you’re confident in what you want to do with the story and you’ve had some practice making adjustments.)

    That is a great idea; I never thought of trying to sort through both outside info on top of my own XD I tend to like to jump into things right away, so a break would probably be wise.


    @e-n-leonard

    If you know that your first book needs major edits, definitely tackle that before you move on to the second. It’ll set the second book up with a better foundation in such a situation.

    Yes, that definitely holds a ton of weight; especially now that you mention it I see some “fun” revisions going on in my first book, since it really sets up the larger conflict for the second book.

    And I’d be happy to beta read your novel 🙂 I love beta reading!

    Thank you so much! I will most certainly let you know when I’ve got it ready!!


    @rose-colored-fancy

    *Hurtles into the room surrounded by a cloud of pink glitter*

    BROOOKEE!!!! WINGIBY!!!! I MISSED YOU!!! *Gives you a huge hug*

    I missed you so much, it’s so amazing to hear from you again! You have to tell me all about how your project is going!!

    *sneezes pink glitter and then pulls out the silly string*

    ROSE!!!!! AT LONG LAST WE MEET AGAIN!! *returns hug* It is wonderful to type with you again 😛

    As for my WIP, I am farther along in it than any other book attempt before! I’m over 50,000 words *squeals in delight* That is why I am asking these questions, because (hopefully!) the first draft will soon be completed (and, I took the test on SE for what area I need the most help in and – you guessed it! – revisions XD)

    … It’s Liorah, what were you expecting? XD

    Has she threatened to kill you yet? 😛

    UMMM YES!!!! Sign me up!! I’ll make time to read it, I love beta reading and your story is so interesting!!

    Thank you so much!! As soon as it’s ready, I will be sure to let you know!

    Also I’d really love if we could keep in touch, I really missed seeing you around! I can give you my writer email, if you’re comfortable with that! Or any other social media you prefer 😀

    That would be great!! I’ve missed you too!! I’m totally fine with your writer email, and I have Facebook too (although I’ve posted literally nothing on there bc I don’t fully understand it 😛 )

    Okay here we go! Blessing upon blessings this is something I can help with!

    So, as always the answer is ‘it depends’ but I can clarify that a bit XD

    As you know, I’m writing a trilogy. (Actually I’m currently revising it, so that works out nicely!)

    I suggest having at least some draft of both books before finishing it, but not working on both at the same time. If you have to draft both consecutively, and then edit both consecutively, that can be a bit overwhelming!

    So, I suggest having one, (probably the first book) a stage further than the other. So, you might draft book one, do a first editing pass on it, then draft book 2, and then go back and forth between them!

    That sounds like a great plan! I love (hear the sarcasm) to overwhelm myself, so it’s good to have that in mind XD

    In my experience, you’ll discover some pretty major things during the first revision, and they might completely change your perspective on book 2. On the other hand, you’ll discover things about book 1 in book 2, so going back and forth has always worked really nicely for me! Plus it has the added bonus that you can let one book simmer in the back of your mind while you work on the other!

    I hope that made sense XD

    That made total sense! Y’all have totally answered my questions on where to begin!

    If you’re interested, I can tell you more about my revision process, if that would help you find a place to start!

    Yes! The more skills and information I can accumulate the better!

    Again, the only correct answer is ‘it depends’ XD

    So, I think this depends on how practiced you are at finding flaws at your writing. Sometimes you’ll finish drafting with a mental list of ‘Here are the things I should fix’ and sometimes you finish with the thought ‘I have no idea if that was a masterpiece or a flaming hot mess’.

    I am a mix of both: I have things I know that need more working on, and then the rest I’m like: “I know it has more flaws, but it’s my baby and I can’t see it!”

    In the first case, I suggest doing at least one pass to fix the flaws you can already see! In the latter, it’s perfectly okay to get readers for the first messy draft.

    Then I will definitely try and edit those flaws!

    I think whenever you come to the point of ‘I don’t know what to do next and nobody can answer because they haven’t read it’, that’s when beta readers are life savers!

    Giving the draft to people as you’re writing it feels a bit scarier, but it can help a LOT in specific cases! Especially when finishing a whole draft feels so overwhelming you can’t do it, it can help!

    That actually takes a lot of the stress out of it; knowing that others can point things out and I don’t have to try and find them all myself!

    So, short answer, as soon as you can’t think of what to do next! Also, you don’t have to let everyone read it at once! As Archer said, you can divide it into rounds, which is what I did!

    I will need many rounds :0

    Okay, this depends per draft! But for developmental edits, I’ve found it very useful to have a list of questions to ask them! (I’m happy to share it if you need an idea of it!) Besides that, the most useful way I’ve found that works for me and doesn’t use too much of my readers’ time is to ask them to write a few thoughts at the end of each chapter, even if it’s just something like ‘It’s fine, I liked it’. In the best case, you’ll get a ‘This chapter made me feel X, I liked Y, you could fix Z’

    Again, this kind of depends on the reader, some of them like to leave a lot of comments, some of them keep it very brief. Both are useful, and you’ll figure out which works best for you and you can fine-tune from there!

    This is great! Thank you! If you don’t mind, I’d love to see the list of questions!

    I also started a writing newsletter a while ago! Here’s the link if you’re curious!

    https://swordandscrawls.ck.page

    You can bet I just subscribed!!


    @arindown

    Looks like everyone had awesome answers, so I’m just popping in to recommend Abbie Emmons on YouTube for any writing/editing tips. She’s super helpful and straightforward and most (I’ll say most because she does use movie examples from films I would not watch XD) of her stuff is clean.

    Thank you!!! I will definitely check her out!

     

    And thank you all so much for your help! I saw the posts this morning and was like “I just discovered a heap of gold!” I have a much better idea for what editing is all about!

    I do have a few more questions though, not necessarily about beta readers, but how to share my novel with them. I write in Google Docs, and I know you can share it that way and enable readers to leave comments. Is that how y’all do it? Is there a better way?

    I light the arrow, pull the bow,
    Shoot that fire right through my soul.

    #153254
    E. N. Leonard
    @e-n-leonard

    @wingiby-iggiby

    I definitely agree with what was mentioned about setting aside the book between drafts. For me at least, that’s been really important.

     

    Thank you so much! I will most certainly let you know when I’ve got it ready!!

    You’re welcome! I’m excited to read it!

     

    I do have a few more questions though, not necessarily about beta readers, but how to share my novel with them. I write in Google Docs, and I know you can share it that way and enable readers to leave comments. Is that how y’all do it? Is there a better way?

    This has been my question, too, though I don’t use Google Docs. I’ve been wondering if I should maybe put a writer email on SE when I put my novelette up for beta reading, and people could just email to request to beta read. Does anyone know if that works, or if there’s an easier way?

    We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
    May your inkwells never run dry!

    #153258
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    I write in Google Docs, and I know you can share it that way and enable readers to leave comments. Is that how y’all do it? Is there a better way?

    That’s generally how I do it. It’s the easiest method I’ve found. Most readers will comment; I’ve also had some who save up their thoughts and send me a comprehensive feedback list at the end in an email or separate document (I’ve gotten PDFs multiple times). Either way, though, Gdocs is a good means for them to read it.

    I often ask my beta-readers beforehand if they’d prefer to share a document or if they want individual documents. A group document enables readers to bounce off of each other and you can get a better/quicker feel for what spots stood out to multiple people and which things get more varied responses, whereas individual docs eliminate the potential for readers to be influenced (or distracted) by others but they’re a bit more complicated on the author end when you’re compiling all of the comments and whatnot. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. In my experience, most of my readers have voted for a group document while only a couple have asked for individual documents, and it’s easy enough to accommodate both. (The “make a copy” feature in Google docs is your best friend in these situations.)

    I’ve been wondering if I should maybe put a writer email on SE when I put my novelette up for beta reading, and people could just email to request to beta read. Does anyone know if that works, or if there’s an easier way?

    You can just post on SE with a blurb and any other relevant information and have people email you; you could set up a Google form to collect people’s email addresses (which would provide the flexibility to ask about their experience, what drew them to your book, etc. if you wanted); or you could send them to a mailing list landing page if that’s a tool you have in your arsenal. In any case, you want to make sure they have an idea of what the book is about, how long it is, what timeline you’re aiming for, and any content warnings that may be relevant.

    I have a mailing list for my street team (people who read early drafts, help promote my stuff by word-of-mouth, etc.), so I generally put beta-readers on that list, whether sending them to my landing page or accumulating their email addresses (often through a Google form) to add them manually. If you don’t have a mailing list like that, you’ll just want to keep a list in a document or spreadsheet so you know who to send the book out to when the time comes.

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #153260
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @r-m-archer

    As an additional note here, it’s a good idea to set aside the book for a while if you’re in the latter camp when you finish.

    Ah, great suggestion! I do that as well, I just forgot to mention it XD


    @wingiby-iggiby

    As for my WIP, I am farther along in it than any other book attempt before! I’m over 50,000 words *squeals in delight* That is why I am asking these questions, because (hopefully!) the first draft will soon be completed (and, I took the test on SE for what area I need the most help in and – you guessed it! – revisions XD)

    YESSS BROOKE YOU DID IT!!! I’m so proud of you for making it so far!! I know it’s gonna be EPIC!!!

    Has she threatened to kill you yet? 😛

    I sleep with one eye open XD She’s being herself, being a problem to her problems as always XD Unfortunately, I believe she counts me as one of her problems XD

    Thank you so much!! As soon as it’s ready, I will be sure to let you know!

    Yesss I’m so excited for it!!

    That would be great!! I’ve missed you too!! I’m totally fine with your writer email, and I have Facebook too (although I’ve posted literally nothing on there bc I don’t fully understand it

    Ahhh, epic! I don’t have Facebook, but email is perfect! My email address is “rose. everdeen. author @ gmail. com” without the spaces! (So, the one I use for my newsletter too!)

    That sounds like a great plan! I love (hear the sarcasm) to overwhelm myself, so it’s good to have that in mind XD

    Honestly, same *distant sobbing*

    That made total sense! Y’all have totally answered my questions on where to begin!

    I’m so glad!

    Yes! The more skills and information I can accumulate the better!

    Yesss awesome! Here’s a brief, summarized process of my revisions!

    Usually, I start by setting the story aside for a while. Usually, I’m tired from powering through that entire draft and it’s nice to take a break for a month or so, or I might start working on something else if I really want to!

    After that, I read through the whole document and annotate it! Sometimes just things like “Doesn’t make sense” or “Add more description here” (often XD) or “This was funny”

    After that, I sometimes give myself another week or so to think about it, then I start planning revisions. Usually, I start spotting mistakes by making a new outline.

    It’s often just a very brief summary in one or two sentences of what happens each chapter. This gives me a really good top-down view. Sometimes, you’ll find issues like this, either with continuity or pacing!

    Then I use one of my favorite techniques, I list my absolute favorite things about the story. Big plot elements like “This character arc”, “this plot point” and so on! And sometimes I’ll do the same thing with the things I’m not sure of and the ones I really dislike! That’ll give you a good view of stuff you can leave alone, and stuff you want to work on!

    Then I make a revision plan, by going into the outline you made earlier and writing down in a couple sentences what I want to fix on a bigger level. So “Add conversation with X, add more description, make sure to emphasize Y”

    Once I’ve done that with everything, I have a pretty good idea of what to do, then I jump in and do it! It sometimes takes a while to get into the editing mindset, but you’ll get used to it!

    I hope that was somewhat helpful!

    I am a mix of both: I have things I know that need more working on, and then the rest I’m like: “I know it has more flaws, but it’s my baby and I can’t see it!”

    I know that feeling, I’m like that too! That’s a good place to start!

    That actually takes a lot of the stress out of it; knowing that others can point things out and I don’t have to try and find them all myself!

    Yesss that’s what betas are so awesome for! Plus, you get to share your story! How cool and exciting is that!! It’s terrifying in the best way, but getting to share it is one of the best feelings ever!

    This is great! Thank you! If you don’t mind, I’d love to see the list of questions!

    Of course! Lemme rummage around and find them…

    Here’s the one I used for the second draft of Gilded Blood!

    Overall
    Did you enjoy reading the manuscript?
    If you could change one plot point, what would it be?
    What was an aspect that stood out to you? (Positive or negative)
    Which of the plot points surprised you? Which plot points did you predict ahead of time?
    Did anything seem annoyingly cliche to you?

    Structure
    What sections of the plot bored you or annoyed you?
    Did the story generally feel cohesive or were there large tonal/pacing shifts?
    Was there ever a moment where your suspension of disbelief was broken?
    Which scene do you remember best, and why?
    Which scene did you have the strongest emotional reaction to?

    Characters
    What were the points where one of the characters annoyed you?
    Were there too many characters, or not enough?
    Which character did you want to get more screentime, and which character needs less?
    Who was your favorite character, and why? Did your favorite character change throughout the story?
    Did you connect with the main character?
    Which character were you indifferent about?
    Did the character arc feel strong or was it paced too quickly?
    Were there any characters you got confused?
    What was your favorite character relationship?
    Were the characters’ motivations clear and logical?

    Worldbuilding
    Was the world over-developed or underdeveloped?
    Were the descriptions interesting? Were there enough?
    Was the story atmospheric?
    What place do you remember best?
    Did the cultures feel too close to reality or too disconnected from it?

    This was the list I gave my readers ahead of time! Afterwards, I’d add a few specific spoilery questions of stuff I wasn’t sure of!

    Also, fair warning, your betas wil probably answer “Nah, it was fine” to a lot of these things. That’s a good thing! It means you’re on the right track and there’s no obvious flaws!

    You can bet I just subscribed!!

    Yesss, awesome, thank you!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #153266
    E. N. Leonard
    @e-n-leonard

    You can just post on SE with a blurb and any other relevant information and have people email you; you could set up a Google form to collect people’s email addresses (which would provide the flexibility to ask about their experience, what drew them to your book, etc. if you wanted); or you could send them to a mailing list landing page if that’s a tool you have in your arsenal. In any case, you want to make sure they have an idea of what the book is about, how long it is, what timeline you’re aiming for, and any content warnings that may be relevant. I have a mailing list for my street team (people who read early drafts, help promote my stuff by word-of-mouth, etc.), so I generally put beta-readers on that list, whether sending them to my landing page or accumulating their email addresses (often through a Google form) to add them manually. If you don’t have a mailing list like that, you’ll just want to keep a list in a document or spreadsheet so you know who to send the book out to when the time comes.

    Thank you so much for this explanation!

    We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
    May your inkwells never run dry!

    #153267
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Thank you so much for this explanation!

    My pleasure! 🙂

    Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.

    #153268
    Brooke
    @wingiby-iggiby

    @e-n-leonard

    I definitely agree with what was mentioned about setting aside the book between drafts. For me at least, that’s been really important.

    Yes, and unfortunately it’s something I find hard to do, since I like to just leap into things and get them done, without realizing that sometimes what seems like the long way is really the quickest route!


    @r-m-archer

    That’s generally how I do it. It’s the easiest method I’ve found. Most readers will comment; I’ve also had some who save up their thoughts and send me a comprehensive feedback list at the end in an email or separate document (I’ve gotten PDFs multiple times). Either way, though, Gdocs is a good means for them to read it.

    Oh good! I never like having to learn a new website or software or anything so I’m glad something I’m familiar with works! 😀

    I often ask my beta-readers beforehand if they’d prefer to share a document or if they want individual documents. A group document enables readers to bounce off of each other and you can get a better/quicker feel for what spots stood out to multiple people and which things get more varied responses, whereas individual docs eliminate the potential for readers to be influenced (or distracted) by others but they’re a bit more complicated on the author end when you’re compiling all of the comments and whatnot. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. In my experience, most of my readers have voted for a group document while only a couple have asked for individual documents, and it’s easy enough to accommodate both. (The “make a copy” feature in Google docs is your best friend in these situations.)

    I never even thought of group vs private documents! Thank you! I appreciate this information so much!

    You can just post on SE with a blurb and any other relevant information and have people email you; you could set up a Google form to collect people’s email addresses (which would provide the flexibility to ask about their experience, what drew them to your book, etc. if you wanted); or you could send them to a mailing list landing page if that’s a tool you have in your arsenal. In any case, you want to make sure they have an idea of what the book is about, how long it is, what timeline you’re aiming for, and any content warnings that may be relevant.

    I have a mailing list for my street team (people who read early drafts, help promote my stuff by word-of-mouth, etc.), so I generally put beta-readers on that list, whether sending them to my landing page or accumulating their email addresses (often through a Google form) to add them manually. If you don’t have a mailing list like that, you’ll just want to keep a list in a document or spreadsheet so you know who to send the book out to when the time comes.

    This is very handy info!


    @rose-colored-fancy

    YESSS BROOKE YOU DID IT!!! I’m so proud of you for making it so far!! I know it’s gonna be EPIC!!!

    THANK YOU!!! I’m proud of me too XD 😛

    I sleep with one eye open XD She’s being herself, being a problem to her problems as always XD Unfortunately, I believe she counts me as one of her problems XD

    A “problem to her problems” is one of the best statements I have ever heard (and so much my own problem!)! 😛

    Ahhh, epic! I don’t have Facebook, but email is perfect! My email address is “rose. everdeen. author @ gmail. com” without the spaces! (So, the one I use for my newsletter too!)

    Sweet! Thanks!

    Yesss awesome! Here’s a brief, summarized process of my revisions!

    I hope that was somewhat helpful!

    That was VERY helpful! I love step-by-step things that allow me to think about one thing at a time 🙂

    Yesss that’s what betas are so awesome for! Plus, you get to share your story! How cool and exciting is that!! It’s terrifying in the best way, but getting to share it is one of the best feelings ever!

    I know, and I’m so eager to finish the first draft and edit the things I know need editing so I can share it!!

    Of course! Lemme rummage around and find them…

    Here’s the one I used for the second draft of Gilded Blood!

    Thank you!!

    This was the list I gave my readers ahead of time! Afterwards, I’d add a few specific spoilery questions of stuff I wasn’t sure of!

    Ah, yes – the spoilers!

     

    And thank you guys for offering your beta reading abilities! After I finish the first draft and edit a bit, I will be sure to tag y’all!

    I light the arrow, pull the bow,
    Shoot that fire right through my soul.

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